The Telegraph
Thursday , January 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999

Rs 2 lakh damages for death during RPF practice

The State Human Rights Commission, Bihar, (SHRC) on Wednesday awarded a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the family of a man killed during a target practice session of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel in Kathihar district.

SHRC chairman Justice S.N. Jha delivered the judgment in which he directed the RPF director-general to pay the compensation to the next of kin of the deceased within a period of six weeks and submit compliance report to the commission.

The incident took place in October 2010 when Mohammed Mokhtar (22) was hit by a bullet fired by RPF personnel during the practice session at Chanbari Butt in the district, around 325km east of Patna. The railways report, submitted by IG Shahid Ahmed on behalf of the RPF, claimed that Mokhtar was hit by bullet at a place about 2km away from the firing range whereas the effective range of the SLR used for practice firing is 300 metres only.

The report stated that pellets of AK-47 were also recovered from the place of occurrence and the jawans do not use AK-47. The report did not rule out the possibility of the boy being killed by criminals.

The complaint in this case was filed with the National Human Rights Commission by R.H. Bansal. The RPF DG submitted a report to the NHRC following the complaint and stated that the case was under investigation. The NHRC subsequently transferred the complaint to the SHRC. The report, however, also maintained that the place of occurrence was straight in the direction of firing and the time of firing and the time of death were approximately the same.

The report submitted by Katihar police said that the case was found to be true against the RPF. It, however, said it could not be ascertained as to whose fire hit the deceased.

Taking into account reports submitted by the RPF and Katihar police, the panel came to the conclusion that the youth died of shot fired during practice.

“While the identity or culpability of one or the other jawan of the RPF may not have been fixed, there is little room for doubt that Md Mokhtar died as a result of shot fired by the RPF jawans during practice. The points raised by Shahid Ahmad are too technical and this commission is not inclined to go into the technicalities where the complaint involves human rights violation,” reads the judgment.

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